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China Human Rights Briefing March 13-19, 2012

Top News
    •    Guangxi Lawyer Missing During “Residential Surveillance”: Human rights lawyer Yang Zaixin has gone missing after reportedly being ordered to “residential surveillance,” raising concerns about his fate and the application of criminal procedures. Yang was criminally detained last June in connection with his defense work in a controversial beating death case in Beihai City.
    •     Detentions Mount As “Two Meetings” Wrap Up in Beijing: As the Two Meetings closed in Beijing, more seized petitioners were given detentions—from reported 10-day administrative detentions to an RTL punishment. In addition, the tight security in place during the “sensitive” period has led to activists and petitioners to face other forms of harassment and rights violations.

Arbitrary Detention
    •    Lawyer Yang Zaixin Goes Missing During Residential Surveillance
    •    Past Jasmine Crackdown Detainee Given RTL Punishment, Held in Hospital
    •    Inner Mongolia Petitioner Sent to RTL for “Undermining Harmony and Stability of Two Meetings”
    •    Petitioners Given Detentions for Seeking Justice Over Loved Ones’ Torture Deaths
    •    Hubei Petitioner Suffering Mental, Physical Deterioration During Two-Year Black Jail Detention
    •    Henan Petitioner Goes on Hunger Strike During Administrative Detention
    •    Inner Mongolia Farmer Criminally Detained For Planting Grass, Trees on Own Contracted Land
    •    Mother, Infant Daughter Held Over Three Weeks, No Date Set for Release
Harassment of Activists
    •    Shanghai Authorities Tightly Monitoring Activist Feng Zhenghu at Home, Block Visitors
    •    Detained Petitioners Face Various Fates As “Two Meetings” Conclude
Freedom of Expression
    •    Censors Shut Down Democracy Activist Yao Lifa’s Blog in Latest Suppressive Measure

Arbitrary Detention
Lawyer Yang Zaixin Goes Missing During Residential Surveillance
Guangxi human rights lawyer Yang Zaixin (杨 在新) has gone missing after reportedly being ordered to “residential surveillance.” Yang, who had been criminally detained since June 14, 2011, had to be either released or formally arrested by March 14, according to the detention limit stipulated under Chinese law. On March 15, the Haicheng District People’s Procuratorate in Beihai City ordered Yang to residential surveillance instead of freeing Yang or approving his arrest after having sent his case back to the local public security bureau twice for further investigation. Authorities only notified Yang’s family of the measures taken against him on March 16, and they did not inform the family of his whereabouts. A member of the defense team in a controversial beating death case in Beihai, Yang was criminally detained last year on charges of “suborning perjury.”*
At its annual session earlier this month, the National People’s Congress passed a new Criminal Procedure Law (CPL), which contained a revised provision on “residential surveillance” (Article 73), granting law-enforcement authorities the power to detain national security or terrorism suspects for up to six months in “designated locations” without needing to disclose the whereabouts of the person. The revision also allows police to deny a suspect access to a lawyer during the secret detention. In such instances, the authority would still have to notify the individual’s family of the measure within 24 hours. Although the new CPL will not come into effect until next March, and though Yang’s crime does not fall into a category where the revised Article 73 applies, his treatment nonetheless raises concerns about the use of residential surveillance as a form of secret detention against activists. (CHRD)[1]
Past Jasmine Crackdown Detainee Given RTL Punishment, Held in Hospital
CHRD has learned that Guangxi petitioner Quan Lianzhao (全 连昭), who served a criminal detention a year ago as part of the Jasmine Crackdown, was issued a one-year Re-education through Labor (RTL) punishment on the charge of “severely disrupting the order of Tiananmen Square and disrupting the social and public order of Zhongnanhai and other locales.” While petitioning in the capital, Quan was taken into custody on December 23, 2011 and issued the RTL punishment two days later. Due to her poor health—Quan, 61, suffers from various illnesses, including asthma and a heart ailment—she has spent most of her time in the hospital instead of being held at the Guangxi Women’s RTL facility. Quan’s daughter was recently intercepted in Beijing and sent back to Nanning for petitioning over her mother’s punishment. In February and March of last year, Quan served a 27-day criminal detention on the charge of “incitement of state power” during the Jasmine Crackdown. (CHRD)[2]
Inner Mongolia Petitioner Sent to RTL for “Undermining Harmony and Stability of Two Meetings”
On March 6, Inner Mongolia petitioner Song Cuirong (宋 翠荣) was sent to a RTL facility to serve an 18-month punishment—reportedly for “undermining the harmony and stability of the Two Meetings”—after she was found to be sending instant messages to others to seek help in getting freed from a black jail. Song is currently being detained at the Tumuji RTL. She has been seeking justice over the 2010 beating death of her husband, for which two alleged assailants went unpunished after reportedly paying off public security officers.
Song was seized last September while going to petition in Beijing and sent back to Jalaid Banner (扎赉 特旗) in Inner Mongolia, where she was held in a black jail before being released after signing guarantees not to petition again. Authorities monitored Song from that time, preventing her from leaving the area. However, Song eventually returned to Beijing to petition with her son, and Inner Mongolia authorities based in the capital seized her on February 16 and took her back to her hometown. The whereabouts of Song’s young son, who may still be in Beijing, are unknown. (CHRD)[3]
Petitioners Given Detentions for Seeking Justice Over Loved Ones’ Torture Deaths
CHRD has learned of two petitioners issued detentions during the Two Meetings in Beijing after they were pursuing justice over the deaths of family members. On March 19, CHRD learned that Hebei petitioner Zhao Fengxian (赵 凤仙) was given a 10-day detention after being taken into custody in the capital. Zhao has petitioned since her son was sentenced to death in 2004, allegedly after public security officers had tortured him and coerced a confession for a crime. Zhao also has served a one-year RTL punishment for defending her son’s innocence, and was released this past November. 
Anhui petitioner Guo Xeqin (郭 泽芹), seized in Beijing on March 13 and then sent back to her hometown, has been issued a 10-day detention by authorities in Wuhe County. Guo was taken into custody after going to petition at the Supreme People’s Court. Guo has indicated that Wuhe County police officers said that she would be released if she signed a guarantee to stop petitioning, but Guo has refused and instead decided to serve out the 10-day detention. From Bengbu, Guo began petitioning after her husband was reportedly falsely accused of a crime in 1996 and then subjected to torture and other cruel treatment that led to his death. Though Guo has received compensation over the incident, she has demanded that the detention center heads be held criminally responsible for the actions taken by police. (CHRD)[4]
Hubei Petitioner Suffering Mental, Physical Deterioration During Two-Year Black Jail Detention
In a blatant case of rights violations, a petitioner from Hubei Province, Geng Zhaohong (耿 兆洪), has been illegally held in a black jail for two years and has suffered great emotional and physical deterioration, according to another petitioner who had recently been detained with Geng. Geng’s detention is one of the lengthiest black jail detentions that CHRD has reported, as petitioners are usually released within days after they were first seized. The petitioner who spoke with CHRD said authorities have restricted Geng’s movements to the one room where he is detained, and she believes that the extended illegal detention has taken a particularly severe toll on his mental state. From Shiyan City, Geng reportedly began petitioning when he did not receive compensation after his wife wife died in a traffic accident many years ago. (CHRD)[5]
Henan Petitioner Goes on Hunger Strike During Administrative Detention
Henan petitioner Liu Xianzhi (刘 先枝), who has been serving a 10-day administrative detention, has reportedly been on a hunger strike that has raised concerns about her health. Liu was seized on March 9 in Beijing after mailing petitioning materials at a post office near Zhongnanhai, the central compound for top government and Party leadership. After being held in the black jail at Jiujingzhuang, Liu was forcibly returned to Zhengzhou and on March 10 was issued a detention. After not being fed for one day while in police custody, Liu asked for food on the first day of her detention but was refused; in angry response to this treatment, Liu has reportedly not eaten since. Due to lack of nourishment, Liu has been bleeding from her chapped lips and has grown very frail. For many years, Liu has petitioned over the forced eviction and demolition of her home as well as seeking justice and compensation after her husband’s murder. Liu has been detained and subjected to other forms of retaliation for her petitioning activities. (CHRD)[6]
Inner Mongolia Farmer Criminally Detained For Planting Grass, Trees on Own Contracted Land
On March 15, police in Inner Mongolia criminally detained farmer Wang Qibing (王 启兵) after he planted grass and trees on government-requisitioned land that he had rented under contract. Taken away on March 14, Wang is being detained at the Otog Front Banner Detention Center. In 2005, the Shanghaimiao Town government, under the pretext of ecological recovery,” ordered villagers to turn over farmland that they “could not manage” to the local village party committee. The government did not make an announcement before requisitioned the land, official procedures were not followed, and the villagers were forced to hand over land with little compensation. The government aimed to sell the land at a high price for the construction of mines and real estate developments. To the dismay of many villagers, much of the land has simply gone unused, and so some villagers, such as Wang, began to plant trees and other crops on the land. (CHRD)[7]
Mother, Infant Daughter Held Over Three Weeks, No Date Set for Release
A petitioner from Henan has been detained with her six-month-old daughter for more than three weeks after being seized in Beijing, and there is no indication of when they may be freed. On February 24, Nie Lina (聂 丽娜), from Xiangcheng County, and her daughter were taken into custody in the capital. After being forcibly returned to, Nie and her daughter were detained at the Xiangcheng County Detention House without formal procedures being followed. Nie’s mother and sister have tried to secure their release, but government authorities have said that Nie will be undergoing “instruction” for an unforeseen period of time, and they will not allow the family members to see Nie and her daughter. During their detention, Nie’s daughter reportedly has not been given an inoculation against hepatitis, causing the family to worry about her development.
For more than a decade, Nie has petitioned over an unresolved land issue that came up after she got divorced. In retaliation, government authorities have detained Nie several times in black jails, including while she was pregnant, which reportedly led to her daughter’s premature birth. (CHRD)[8]
Harassment of Activists
Shanghai Authorities Tightly Monitoring Activist Feng Zhenghu at Home, Block Visitors
For over three weeks, a smothering security presence has limited the movements of Shanghai activist Feng Zhenghu (冯 正虎), who was mostly confined to his home just before and during the Two Meetings, while visitors have been prevented from seeing him. On March 16, more than 20 petitioners went to Feng’s residence, but over 100 police and security guards and over 20 vehicles stationed outside stopped them and dispersed the group. That morning, national security officers took Feng to a police station after coaxing him into thinking they were taking him to a hospital; Feng is reportedly ill and is unable to receive adequate food while being monitored around the clock. Though the police’s reasons for restricting Feng’s movements are unclear, it is believed that Feng’s treatment stems from his activism, which involves organizing Shanghai petitioners to go to the Supreme People’s Court to demand their cases be heard in courts. (CHRD)[9]
Detained Petitioners Face Various Fates As “Two Meetings” Conclude
As the Two Meetings closed in Beijing, news about petitioners seized in the capital continued to emerge, including the first reports about individuals seized over a week ago (see more above). In some instances, tight security measures in place during this period have meant that the exact fates and whereabouts of petitioners have remained unknown even to detainees’ family members.
    •    Hebei petitioner Wu Lanying (吴兰英), who was taken into custody in Beijing on March 6, was reportedly detained in a black jail in Shijiazhuang after being forcibly returned to the city. Wu’s relative went to visit her, but more than 10 individuals watching over Wu prevented them from meeting.
    •    Hebei petitioner Zhang Niannian (张年年), 62 years old, is believed to have been detained in Shijiazhuang since March 6, but her exact whereabouts are unknown. Zhang was seized in Beijing and has remained out of contact.
    •    Guangdong petitioner Yuan Kangcheng (袁康成) has been held in a police station in his hometown since March 7 after he was taken into custody in Beijing. Yuan has been petitioning for more than a decade over not receiving compensation after his two sons were crippled in a traffic accident.
    •    On March 8, Jiangsu petitioner Lu Fengjuan (陆凤娟) was seized in Beijing and threatened with 18 months of RTL, according to her daughter. Beijing police detained her at the black jail in Jiujingzhuang after discovering that she was carrying a letter of complaint about a past RTL decision (for which she served a one-year punishment) that she has sought to appeal. Wuyi City authorities based in Beijing then took her back to Jiangsu, where she was placed in a “legal education class.”
    •    Beginning on March 10, Heilongjiang petitioner-activist Shan Yajuan (单亚娟) reportedly went on a hunger strike in a black jail in Jixi City before being rushed to a hospital. Two days earlier, personnel from Jixi had seized and beat Shan in Beijing after she and another petitioner went to the Supreme People’s Court, and Shan was temporarily placed in the black jail at Jiujingzhuang. Since Shan’s hunger strike may have been jeopardizing her health, guards at the Jixi black jail eventually took her to a hospital for medical treatment. Shan has actively helped other petitioners pursue their grievances, and has also worked to expose the use of black jails in China and gone to Shandong to show support for the lawyer and activist Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), among other rights defense activities.
    •    Hubei petitioner Yang Zelian (杨泽莲), seized by police in Beijing on March 13, was first sent to the black jail at Jiujingzhuang before being transferred by Xiangfan City interceptors to a second black jail near the capital.
    •    Bao Meichen (鲍梅晨), a 71-year-old petitioner from Shijiazhuang in Hebei Province, was recently seized in Beijing. Bao was sent back to Shijiazhuang and was first detained in a black jail and was then placed in a police station. Her family was reportedly not being allowed to see Bao or deliver medications to her. (CHRD)[10]
Freedom of Expression
Censors Shut Down Democracy Activist Yao Lifa’s Blog in Latest Suppressive Measure
Government censors shut down the blog of Hubei democracy rights activist Yao Lifa (姚 立法) on March 13 in just the latest of suppressive actions taken against Yao since early 2011. After creating his blog over a year ago, Yao has posted more than 130 writings, mostly about local People’s Congress elections being held in China. With the Two Meetings in session in Beijing, authorities in Qianjiang City only tightened their controls over Yao, who is closely monitored at the school where he works; guards have been escorting him back home at 10 p.m. every evening—a return to past practice after Yao had been taken home at 7 p.m. for a stretch of time. Reportedly, internet access at Yao’s home often cuts off automatically when he returns to his residence, and the outside world typically cannot reach him through his cell phone or home phone. Since January of 2011, Yao has gone missing for various lengths of time and frequently had his home searched, and authorities have also severely harassed his wife and other family members. (CHRD)[11]
*Correction: In a previous issue of China Human Rights Briefing (June 29-July 6, 2011), it was reported that Yang Zaixin was “formally arrested” on June 29, 2011. In fact, he was only “criminally detained” on that date.
Editors: Victor Clemens and Wang Songlian

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News updates from CHRD  

[1] “Guangxi Human Rights Lawyer Yang Zaixin Goes Missing After Being Held Under Residential Surveillance” (广西维权律师杨在新被监视居住后失踪), March 17, 2012, CHRD
[2] “Jasmine Crackdown Detainee Sent to RTL; Family Member Intercepted in Beijing, Sent Back Home” (茉莉花革命期间被刑拘者 遭劳教 家人北京上访被截回), March 19, 2012, CHRD; “Guangxi Petitioner Quan Lianzhao Sent to RTL, Family Member Goes to Petition in Beijing” (广西全连昭被劳教 家人在北京上访), March 13, 2012, CHRD; “Individuals Affected by the Crackdown Following Call for “Jasmine Revolution” (updated March 1, 2012)
[3] “Inner Mongolia Petitioner Song Cuirong Sent to 18 Months of RTL, Son’s Whereabouts Unknown in Beijing” (内蒙古访民宋翠荣劳教一年半,未成年儿子在北京下落不明), March 14, 2012, CHRD
[4] “Wuhe County, Anhui Petitioner Guo Xeqin Petitions in Beijing, Detained” (安徽五河县女访民郭泽芹两会赴京上访被拘留), March 19, 2012, CHRD; “Petitioner Zhao Fengxian Detained 10 Days, Li Yulian Freed” (女访民赵凤仙被拘十日,李玉莲获释), March 19, 2012, CHRD
[5] “Hubei Petitioner Geng Zhaohong Held in Black Jail Two Years, Close to Mental Collapse” (湖北访民耿兆洪被关黑监狱两年精神近崩溃), March 17, 2012, CHRD
[6] “Henan Petitioner Liu Xianzhi Seized in Beijing, Detained, Goes on Life-Threatening Hunger Strike” (河南访民刘先枝在北京被抓回拘留,绝食抗议生命重危), March 14, 2012, CHRD
[7] “Shanghaimiao Town, Inner Mongolia Farmer Wang Qibing Criminally Detained for Planting Grass, Trees on Own Contracted Land” (内蒙古上海庙镇村民王启兵耕种自己承包地被拘留), March 16, 2012, CHRD
[8] “Henan Petitioner Nie Lina, 6-Month-Old Daughter Held Over 20 Days, No Date Set for Release” (河南访民聂丽娜和6个月女儿被关押20余天获释无期), March 18, 2012, CHRD
[9] “Shanghai Rights Activist Feng Zhenghu Under Soft Detention for Over 20 Days, Petitioners Blocked From Seeing Him” (上海维权人士冯正虎被软禁20余天,访民看望被阻拦), March 16, 2012, CHRD; “Petitioners Go Visit Feng Zhenghu, Feng Taken Away to Police Station” (访民看望冯正虎,而主人却被国保带到派出所), March 16, 2012, HRCC; “Shanghai Rights Activist Feng Zhenghu Has Home Searched” (上海维权人士冯正虎被抄家), March 1, 2012, CHRD
[10] “Shijiazhuang Petitioner Wu Lanying Held in ‘Black Jail’” (石家庄女访民吴兰英被关“黑监狱”), March 14, 2012, CHRD; “Shijiazhuang Zhang Niannian Missing” (石家庄女访民张年年失踪), March 14, 2012, CHRD; “Guangdong Petitioner Yuan Kangcheng Still Illegally Held in Safeguard Room at Police Station” (广东访民袁康成被派出所非法关押留置室), March 14, 2012, CHRD; “Wuyi Petitioner Lu Fengjuan Detained in ‘Legal Education Class’ After Petitioning in Beijing, May Face RTL” (无锡访民陆凤娟北京上访被关“学习班”恐遭劳教), March 13, 2012, CHRD; “Hubei Petitioner Yang Zelian Held in Black Jail in Beijing” (湖北访民杨泽莲被关北京黑监狱), March 15, 2012, CHRD; “Heilongjiang Petitioner Dan Yajuan Returned to Jixi From Beijing, Goes on Hunger Strike as Protest” (黑龙江访民单亚娟从北京被绑架回鸡西,绝食抗争), March 15, 2012, CHRD; “71-Year-Old Shijiazhuang Petitioner Bao Meichen Intercepted in Beijing, Detained” (七旬石家庄访民鲍梅晨被拦截关押), March 13, 2012, CHRD
[11] “Elections Expert Yao Lifa Faces Controls on Freedom for Over One Year, Has Blog Shut Down” (选举专家姚立法被限制自由一年之久,博客遭封杀), March 14, 2012, CHRD

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